Pinay pugs plunge into action in Astana

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Singapore Southeast Asian Games silver medalist Irish Magno will be the first to see action when the 2016 AIBA World Women’s Boxing Championship unfolds today at the Barys Arena in Astana, Kazakhstan.

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Magno will be facing Bolortuul Tumurkhuyag of Mongolia in the opening round of the bantamweight division (54-kilogram) while 2012 World Women’s Boxing Championship gold me­dalist and Singapore Southeast Asian Games champion Josie Gabuco opens her bid on Saturday against fourth seed Sevda Asenova of Bulgaria in the light flyweight class (45-48 kgs.)

Veteran campaigner Nesthy Petecio, a silver medalist in the 2014 AIBA World Women’s Boxing Championship, earned an opening round bye by virtue of her sixth seeding in the flyweight category (51 kgs.)

Petecio awaits the winner between Ez Zahraoui Zohra of Morocco and Nam Eujin of South Korea in the tournament sanctioned by the International Boxing Association.

“It’s going to be a long shot but we want to take it one game at a time. Our boxers are 100 percent ready for this tournament. We went through a lot of training camps and we’re looking forward to get good results here,” said national coaching staff member Roel Velasco, a 1992 Barcelona Olympics bronze medalist.

Only Petecio has a chance of earning a spot in the Olympics since her weight category has been included in the calendar of the Rio Games.

There are 49 boxers in her division.

The gold and silver medalists will get automatic slots to the Olympics scheduled in August.

So far, Charly Suarez and Rogen Ladon are the only qualified Filipino boxers in the Olympics following their silver-medal finishes in the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualifying tournament held in China.

EMIL C. NOGUERA

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